08:54 AM

Partial Caries Removal is Alternative to Traditional Dental Practices

By Dr. John Luther, DentaQuest Chief Dental Officer

Nicknamed the “father of operative dentistry” in the 1990s, Greene Vardiman Black (more commonly known as GV Black) advocated that all dentin, or the tissue that surrounds a tooth, where decay is present should be removed.

However, recently new evidence published in a study in the Journal of Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry contradicts this dental tradition. This recent study reveals evidence that partial caries removal may be more beneficial for both the patient and practitioner.

Co-authors Daniel Chan, DMD, a professor and the associate dean of clinical services at the University of Washington School of Dentistry, and William Browning, DDS, a professor in the department of restorative dentistry at the Indiana School of Dentistry, cited several studies that support the belief that the complete removal of all the affected dentin in deep carious lesions leads to pulp exposure, complex and higher-cost treatment, and, possibly, extraction. It also suggests that creating a sealant barrier is just as effective as total removal, but with more advantages. The approach is supported by numerous clinical trials and systematic reviews, which is decidedly rare for operative dental procedures.

This study provides great insight for dentists nationwide. At DentaQuest, we support new innovative research, like the study mentioned above, that challenges and improves overall dental care. We want to help oral health care providers improve their practice to emphasize prevention and disease management. We identify promising strategies for quality improvement and, working with clinical partners, provide technical assistance to accomplish the goal.

We look forward to new research that helps transform the dental industry and ultimately how dental care is delivered.